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Church holds mass for off-campus students

Madeline Buckley | Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When senior Molly Sullivan lived on campus, attending Sunday Mass was easy.

But now that she lives in Legacy Village, a student housing complex north of campus, Sullivan said dorm Masses are not as convenient to attend.

“I think one of the things that’s so great at Notre Dame is mass on campus is so convenient,” she said. “A lot of students miss that convenience when they move off campus and maybe don’t go as often.”

With a number of new student housing complexes in the area northeast of campus – including Irish Crossing and Irish Row – many students are looking for nearby churches at which to attend Sunday Mass.

Fr. Neil Ryan, pastor of Little Flower Church on Ironwood Rd., is adding an extra Mass at 8 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the students living off campus.

 “We have these student residences very close to the Parish and I though it would be good for them if there was a parish nearby within a comfortable walking distance,” Ryan said. “And I figured that most students are not going to be up for my 8 a.m. Mass on Sunday.”

The first Mass at 8 p.m. on Sunday will be offered Sept. 27, once the parish completes the logistical tasks involved in adding an extra Mass.

Ryan said he got in touch with Sullivan to find out what time of day on Sunday students would most likely come to Mass.

“I listened to students and let them suggest a convenient time for them to pray,” Ryan said. “Many of them would like to get reintegrated into parish life. It’s really a family praying together.”

As a varsity cross-country runner, Sullivan said she cannot attend Sunday morning Masses, so the nightly service offers a welcomed alternative.

 “I think this will give us back the convenience that dorm Masses offered,” she said. “They are going out of their way to accommodate our schedules.”

Sullivan said she often misses the dorm Masses and will probably still attend them from time to time.

But she said she is excited at the opportunity to get involved in Little Flower Church.

“I think Notre Dame dorm Masses are a great thing for that age, but moving forward, I’m going to graduate this year so getting involved with a parish then is a great step,” she said. “I plan on going to Mass and I would like to get involved in service. They have one of the top food pantries in the area.”

The Parish has already reached out to the students at Legacy Village, Sullivan said.

“Fr. Ryan had contacted me, welcoming the students to the neighborhood,” she said. “He invited all of Legacy Village over for a barbeque.”

Ryan said he wanted to give the students a feel for parish life.

“Little Flower has always had a relationship with Notre Dame students, but now with so many living close by, the students should have Masses scheduled at times they feel comfortable coming to,” he said.

And Ryan said he hopes students will take advantage of being a member of the parish.

“There are opportunities for students to participate in Parish activities and the liturgy and they will discover they have a lot to offer,” he said.